The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Shipley ‘hungry’ for more with Klubnik and Riley at the helm

Katie Bradham, Photo Editor

Clemson running back Will Shipley (1) hurdles a Louisville defender on a 25-yard touchdown run against the Cardinals in Memorial Stadium on Nov. 12, 2022. 

Will Shipley has had an impressive first two seasons at Clemson, but the running back expects more from himself and the Tigers in 2023, especially with a new quarterback and offensive coordinator leading the charge.

Ending last year with a disappointing loss in the Orange Bowl, Clemson enters this upcoming season with rising sophomore Cade Klubnik as the presumed starting signal-caller and Garrett Riley as the team’s new offensive play-caller. Even with all the success Shipley has had since he arrived at Clemson in 2021, a new backfield partner and coordinator may bring the tailback’s production to another level.

Speaking with On3’s J.D. Pickell on “The Hard Count” podcast, Shipley elaborated on just that and detailed the Tigers’ 2023 season outlook.

“I think everyone’s just really hungry,” Shipley said. “We understand that everything we’ve accomplished, at least for myself, at this program for the past few years has been great, but we got out sights set on some different goals; there’s no doubt about that. We understand what’s ahead of us and, if we put in the work, what we can accomplish.”

With Klubnik taking over the reins for DJ Uiagalelei, who transferred to Oregon State, and Riley replacing Brandon Streeter, the Tigers’ offense will have a completely new look in the fall. Shipley acknowledged there might be some growing pains but has all the confidence in the world, saying that “there’s nothing but excitement” surrounding Klubnik and Riley. 

“It’s definitely going to be a little bit of trial and error and figuring some things out, not only on the field but also as a leader and the role outside the lines,” Shipley said. “For me, it’s just about taking on whatever role I can and whatever role they want me to play. Obviously, I want that to be a big role. I want to be the guy for this offense who they can lean on and rely on to either make the big play or make the small play.”

As for the transition from Uiagalelei to Klubnik at the end of last season, the former five-star recruit was open about the decision from the coaching staff to make the switch. 

“It’s a tough process for any team, especially at this level, because you only go as far as your quarterback takes you, and I stand by that,” he said. “To have problems at that position and to have to make that switch to a freshman from DJ — which nobody’s got more love for DJ than I do and the whole Clemson program has for him, and I wish him the best at Oregon State and think he’s absolutely going to kill it — I think everybody was ready for Cade to come in and truly make a difference.”

Starting in all 14 games, Shipley finished 2022 with 1,182 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 210 attempts, adding another 242 yards as a receiver. His performance earned him first-team All-ACC honors at the running back, specialist and all-purpose positions, marking the first time an ACC player has ever received the nod at three different positions. 

With an impressive resume, Shipley is nationally recognized as one of the best returning running backs in college football, and Riley can’t wait to see him in action. 

“What a player and what a guy,” Riley said of Shipley earlier this month. “All of the stories I’ve already heard from these coaches about what type of kid he is, he sounds like an absolute rockstar.”

Shipley and the new-look Clemson offense will begin spring ball on March 6 and play their spring game in Memorial Stadium on April 15. 

“We know we’re in a really good spot with Cade and coach Riley,” Shipley added. “I’m excited to see what Cade can do this year. It’s going to be fun sharing a backfield with him.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *